September 10th OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The OpenStack Foundation met in Denver on September 10th for a Joint Leadership Meeting involving the foundation Board of Directors, the Technical Committee, and the User Committee.

The usual disclaimer applies - this my informal recollection of the meeting. It’s not an official record.

Foundation Events Update

We began with an update from Lauren, Jonathan, and Mark on the events that have happened so far this year, the Project Teams Gathering (PTG) in Denver this week, and the coming OpenStack Summit in Sydney.

Lauren outlined some details of the recent Pike release, emphasizing the positive media coverage of the release, with the "composable infrastructure services" messaging resonating.

Jonathan talked about the many OpenStack Days events that happened over the summer, including Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Budapest, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and China. Jonathan has attended all of these, covering 13 countries since the OpenStack Summit in Boston and he spoke about the many new users and new use cases that he learned about over the course of these events. More OpenStack Days are coming this year including Benelux, UK, Italy, Turkey, Nordic, Canada, France, and Germany.

Mark spoke about the OpenDev event held the previous week in San Francisco. The goal was to bring in people who are experts in different domains, and the important and emerging use case of "Edge Computing" was chosen for this first event. The keynote from Dr Satya of Carnegie Mellon University was mentioned as one particularly inspiring contribution.

An particularly interesting conclusion from one of the sessions was a simple definition of what Edge Computing actually is:

Edge is the furthest boundary that separates application-agnostic scheduled computing workloads within the same operator's domain of control, from applications or devices that can't schedule workloads, and are outside the same operator's control.

(Thanks to Dan Sneddon for pointing this out!)

Another interesting development is the collection of edge use cases which will be published to Edge Computing mini-site on openstack.org.

The PTG was touched on next - more than 400 contributors in attendance from 35 project teams, with the first two days focused on the strategic goals of simplification, adjacent technologies, onboarding new contributors, etc.

Jonathan also talked about the coming OpenStack Summit in Sydney. We are aiming for 2500+ attendees, and the amazing work by the program committee to work the 1100 speaking submissions into an awesome three day schedule has been completed. There will be Hackathon focused on Cloud Applications the weekend before the event.

Finally, we looked forward to the OpenStack Summits in Vancouver in May, and Berlin the following November.

The Strategic Focus Areas

Back in March, at the Strategic Planning Workshop in Boston, we developed a set of 5 strategic focus areas and formed working groups around each of these. For each of those focus areas, the working group presented their findings and progress, followed by some discussion.

Better communicate about OpenStack

Thierry Carrez and Lauren Sell lead the discussion of this topic with a set of slides.

We began by discussing progresson developing a map of OpenStack deliverables. The idea is for the map to make it easy for users of the software to make sense of what OpenStack has to offer, and one key part of this mapping effort is to categorize deliverables into buckets:

  • openstack-user: Things an end user installs to consume the IaaS stack
  • openstack-iaas: Primary compute, storage & networking services
  • openstack-operations: Things an operator uses to manage an openstack cloud once installed
  • openstack-lifecyclemanagement: Things that help deploy/upgrade OpenStack or standalone components
  • openstack-adjacentenablers: Things that other infrastructure stacks can use to leverage individual OpenStack components

Some of the outstanding questions include how to represent projects which are coming down the line, where various types of plugins should live, and whether Glance is tied to Compute or should be represented as a Shared Service.

After the meeting, Lauren sent out a request for everyone to contribute their feedback on the draft of the map. Please do join in!

Next, we discussed at some length how OpenStack has been affected by "Big Tent" concept where we welcome collaboration, experimentation, and innovation on "infrastructure things" beyond the core OpenStack technology. We've know that users have found it difficult to make sense of the breadth of project teams, and we have created further confusion around "what is OpenStack".

Our discussion on this revolved around the idea of separating the technologies directly related to the deliverables map above (which we could call "OpenStack IaaS and friends"), the "software forge" infrastructure project, and the free-for-all project hosting area previously known as Stackforge. There was broad consensus that we should give each of those its own identity, which is particularly exciting when you think of the potential for "Infra" to have an identity that isn't so closely tied with OpenStack. We also discussed the potential to extend this model to other projects in the future, but also our desire to not become a "Foundation of Foundations" or a collection of entirely unrelated projects.

Requirements: Close the feedback loop

Melvin Hillsman and Thierry Carrez talked us through the unanswered requirements strategic focus area.

The focus of this discussion was on the creation of OpenStack Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as a mechanism to have cross-community collaboration on a given topic, without the work being under the umbrella of any one governance body.

The SIGs created so far are:

  • a Meta SIG to discuss how to improve SIG processes
  • an API SIG, which is an evolution of the API Working Group already formed, and
  • a still-forming Ansible SIG, with the goal of facilitating collaboration between Ansible and OpenStack projects.

Community Health

On this topic, Steve Dake talked us through some efforts to help grow the next generation of leaders in the OpenStack community, supporting people who wish to become a core contributor or PTL. Steve particularly highlighted efforts along these lines within the Kolla project.

Increase complementary with adjacent technologies

Steve Dake again took the lead on presenting this topic, focusing on success stories of collaboration between OpenStack and other communities - Ansible and Helm, in particular.

For Ansible, it was observed that OpenStack has built upon Ansible's highly reusable technology in many ways, and OpenStack members have contributed significantly to the Ansible modules for OpenStack based on Shade. The conclusion was that the success was down to (a) building releationships between the communities, (b) leadership endorsement, and (c) the simplified collaboration process adopted by Ansible.

For Helm, the collaboration has been focused in areas where Helm is being used to deploy OpenStack services on Kubernetes.

Finally, Dims gave a read-out on collaboration on OpenStack within the Kubernetes community, mostly with work in the OpenStack SIG focused on the OpenStack cloud provider.

Technology changes: Simplify OpenStack

For our final strategic focus area, Mike Perez gave an update on progress. He described projects which have recently been retired, the OpenStack manuals project migration, and the status of a number of projects who are seeing low levels of contribution activity.

Clarifying and communicating where help is needed

Next up, Thierry walked us through the TC's mechanism for exposing areas where help is needed in the community. We talked through this "top 5 help wanted list" and had a good discussion on the two items currently on the list - Documentation and Glance.

Interoperability Working Group

As our final topic, Egle Sigler gave an update from Interoperability Working Group.

The first item of business was to approve the 2017.09 guideline. Both the compute and object components gained some new capabilities in this update.

As discussed in the previous meeting, the working group proposed the creation of "add-on" programs which would focus on interoperability between different implementations of a given service, without having to add that service as a requirement in the core OpenStack Powered programs. As a starting point, it was proposed to create advisory add-ons for DNS (Designate) and Orchestration (Heat). After some discussions on the implications of these additions, they were formally approved by the board.

Next Meeting

The board's next meeting is a 2 hour conference call on Tuesday, October 10. Our next in-person meeting will be in Sydney on Sunday, November 5.